Falconwood Field is open grassland between Oxleas Wood and Sheperdleas Wood. An electricity substation stands on one side of the field; two main roads enclose the other sides. Nevertheless Falconwood Field offers a peaceful and breezy walk which is rather too brief.
Origin of the name
Falcon Wood Field was one of the fields in this area in the late 1800s. Was this where kings flew their falcons centuries before? West Wood lay to the east of the field until the end of the 19th century. It was in the Manor of Bexley and owned by the University of Oxford. The woods were cleared in 1895 and replaced with Westwood Farm. In the 1930s New Ideal Homesteads bought the farm and built Falconwood Park which is still in the borough of Bexley
After his death Sir Clarence Smith occupied the property and in the early 1900s Baron and Baroness Emile Beaumont D’Erlanger became tenants and used the mansion as a weekend retreat. He was a banker but also chairman of the Channel Tunnel Company. From 1932 the mansion was a hotel and it was finally demolished in 1859. This post gives a fascinating history of the house and the people associated with it.
Falconwood Field, down the hill and below Oxleas Wood, is named after the lost mansion, or was the mansion named after the field? The Council acquired the field in 1936.
Falconwood Model Railway
The field was also home to the Falconwood Model Railway until 2022. The Welling and District Model Engineering Railway Society set up the railway in 1975 in the north east corner of the field. In 2022 club relocated to Hall Place because National Grid is going to build a tunnel head house in Falconwood Field for a new electricity tunnel to meet increased demand in London.
Faconwood Field today
In June flowering grasses and wildflowers cover the open field. It is absolutely delightful!
In the northwest corner and along the main road is a strip of woodland. It seems to be ‘just’ trees but step under the branches and you find the magic. That special atmosphere which is tangible amongst old trees, almost as if they are talking to you.
Falconwood Field is interesting because of its name, but now that the railway has relocated there is no particular reason to visit the field. It is perhaps a matter of time before this green space disappears.